For Winchester, the new school year will bring even more students through its doors. To deal with this, one school in the district has a temporary fix.
You may remember a couple months ago, The City of Winchester raised property taxes. Some of that money is going towards paying for extra space for the extra students in Winchester. A temporary fix to a growing problem...modular classrooms at Frederick Douglass Elementary School. Inside, you can barely tell you're not in the main part of the school.
"It's been really no different than setting up a regular classroom," said 3rd Grade Teacher Beverly Zombro.
As a teacher at Frederick Douglass Elementary School, Beverly Zombro has had close to 20 first days of school. That's about 20 years of teaching. She says theses modular classrooms are no different than the ones in the regular building.
"Bulletin boards and classroom materials. Computers. Everything is virtually the same," said Zombro.
"I think I imagined a more dark place, but it's light and the temperature controls are great. The technology is fantastic and all of the teachers in the modulars have really worked hard to create a sense of community and brighten it up. I'm looking forward to when the kids arrive," said 3rd Grade Teacher Mary Beth Estes.
There are four classrooms in this modular at Frederick Douglass Elementary School. About 80 students will call this home for the next school year. Not only does each class room have a Smart Board, but each classroom also has a bathroom.
These modular classrooms were put in place to meet the needs of the most overcrowded elementary school in Winchester. There may be more to come.
"We have this issue of we're at capacity virtually at every elementary school so it's really looking at our most pressing schools and then determining if we need to add modulars. Frederick Douglass was of course the first, but Quarles looks like a likely target and then we'll have to see Virginia Avenue and then John Kerr itself," said WPS Executive Director Kevin McKew.
McKew says it's probably going to be about five more years before a new elementary school is built. Right now, the plan is to replace John Kerr. Until then, modular classrooms are the solution.
"The students might feel a little different to begin with, but we have really built a good community here in the cottages so I think they will be fine," said Estes.
McKew also added that they don't want to realign which schools students go to now. They want to do it only one time and that would be when the new John Kerr is built. So that's the idea behind adding the modular buildings to keep kids in their same school zone for now.
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